Gulliver's sandals

Gulliver’s adventure in Lilliput begins when he awakens after his shipwreck to find himself bound by innumerable tiny threads and addressed by tiny captors who are in awe of him but fiercely protective of their kingdom. 

Bad week with old sandals and unhappy toes.  New sandals are truly, truly ugly.  Every time I look at them I'm reminded of Gulliver under the crisscross threads.  My toes are happier, and that is the main thing.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder

Spelling Man and time in a bottle

Pretty sick of hearing the phrase "time is running out" regarding the debt ceiling debate.  Time, though, is of the essence, or at least a recurring theme this weekend.  So let's share a brief horological moment. Horology? Yes, indeed:

horology Look up horology at Dictionary.com  

science of time, 1819, probably from Gk. hora “hour” (see hour) + -logy. Earlier it meant “clock, clock dial” (c.1500), from L. horologium. Related: Horologist.
Spelling Man phoned the library yesterday, and it was my good etymological fortune to answer his call. Spelling Man wondered how to spell the name of an antique French country clock that chimes on the hour for prayer, and again a minute later to signal the end of prayer.  Spelling Man seemed insulted when I asked if it was a domed clock.  No, like a grandfather clock! It was difficult to distinguish the consonant sounds as he pronounced them, and also French.  I know Spelling Man was not impressed, but a quick search of the reference desk dictionary provided no answer.  I would have to find some references for antique French clocks and call Spelling Man back with an answer.

Books in the 749 Dewey category had pages that crumbled at my touch, but I eventually found the word "Morbier".  Could that be Spelling Man's clock?  Later online searching confirmed that Morbier clocks had the prayer chimes described by Spelling Man:

Another unusual feature that Morbiers have is that they strike twice on the hour: for example, at 6:00, the clock strikes six times, and at 6:02, the clock strikes six times again. My understanding is that the first strike was a call to prayer and the second strike was to indicate when to begin prayer. The clock also strikes once on the half hour. The religious tradition seen here dates back to the 12th Century, when most clocks were built for churches. People listened to the church bells to know what time it was, when to pray, and when to eat. The plates holding the gears together in Morbier clocks are somewhat similar in design and construction to the medieval church tower clocks, made of strips of forged iron, as if the Morbier clocks were small versions of the great tower clocks. 

Every library has a Spelling Man who calls with impatient requests.  I'm not sure how many library staffers return the call to be answered by an automated sexy-voiced virtual assistant named "Sharon". This seemed straight out of a Clive Cussler novel.  And, okay, here I must admit my firm belief that reading a Dirk Pitt book keeps my airplane safe when I am a passenger if I also drink Mr. & Mrs. T Bloody Mary mix with my peanuts.

A friend recently visited Munich and brought these postcards of the famous clock tower glockenspiel. The cards turned up under the newspaper comics section where Bizarro showed a man strapping a cellphone to his wrist with Velcro so he could tell time.

It is time, indeed, to clean up the stacks of papers around the condo! But first we must dust the cobwebs off the condo debt ceiling...  And that will take at least a five-hour energy drink.

Should we turn back the hands of time, or keep fretting?  Maybe we could encourage our dang congresspersons to work together by playing Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" on a continuous loop at loud volume in their chambers until they find a solution.

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

What hands?  What time? What bottle?

This link is to an NPR interview with Howard Mansfield about his book, Turn and Jump: How Time and Place Fell ApartTime is a strange, abstract, evolving concept. We all know people for whom time stands still or slows to accommodate their over-booked schedules.  Perhaps they are horologymnasts. But they better not make the economy jump through hoops.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


If I had all the time in the world...

...I would read these books.  Instead I read book reviews, which is a nice, air-conditioned job I'm very grateful to have on summer Saturdays.  Plus, I get to use a big yellow highlighter on slick magazine paper, a sensory thrill no matter how old I get!

  • Lincoln and the Border States:  Preserving the Union, by William C. Harris, University of Kansas Press.  ISBN 9780700618040  "Harris’s probing work brings the border states back to center stage and demonstrates how and why Lincoln mastered the art of balancing competing interests without yielding on the essential priority—an insightful lesson on leadership that speaks to our own day. Highly recommended.
  • State vs. Defense: The Battle To Define America’s Empire, by Stephen Glain.  ISBN 9780307408419 Since the early years of the Cold War, the U.S. State and Defense Departments have been locked in a bitter fight over making foreign policy—a battle in which Defense has dominated to the extent that the national security budget is now 20 percent of the total federal budget (i.e., rather than there being a greater percentage for diplomacy or foreign aid). So writes journalist Glain (Wall Street Journal;Mullahs, Merchants, and Militants: The Economic Collapse of the Arab World) in his fascinating account of the making of modern foreign policy. This is not a comprehensive Cold War history, but it skillfully investigates each presidential administration since Truman’s to show how militarists—often wealthy corporation heads and elected officials—have created the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned against. Readers will be familiar with many of the militarists and diplomatists who fill these pages but will likely be angered about the extent to which the former went to distort the truth about the former Soviet Union and, later, Asian and Muslim nations’ strength and intentions toward the United States. 
  • I love diaries and letters of women in the Old West, so I want to read (or listen to a CD of Dorothy Wickenden's) Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the WestISBN 9781439176580 ...These rich and well-educated young society women, tired of social conventions and frustrated by suffrage work, came face to face with another America in the years before World War I—one that was poor, diverse, remote, lacking in modern conveniences, occasionally violent, and yet spectacularly beautiful and “new.” ... adds to our understanding of the complexity of women’s experiences in presuffrage America....Their lovingly preserved letters richly demonstrate how in seeking to assist others they also changed themselves. 
My current reads:

  • "Reads like fiction" is quite true about Howard Blum's The Floor of Heaven: A True Saga of the Old West and the Yukon Gold Rush.  ISBN 9780307461728. I'm loving it.  Give me Pinkerton detectives and cowboy outlaws and I'm pulled in.  
  • Alas, I was unable to stomach Allison Pearson's novel, I Think I Love You past about page 75.  Perhaps that is a back-handed compliment, as the return to Seventies junior high and The Partridge Family was too painful.
The preschoolers are loving these books:
  • Big Cat, Small Cat, by Ami Rubinger.  This predictive book of opposites with strangely pinkish cat illustrations has been a huge hit. 
  • Nina Crews' Neighborhood Mother Goose.  Connects current kids with the timeless joys of these rhymes.   

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder

How will they get out?

The new mockingbirds fledged Wednesday.  They made short flights all around the school, stopping often on the playground fence.  Perfect timing for our daily garden/nature observation, an effort as much about teacher sanity as science instruction.  "Look, two mockingbirds on the fence," I said.  "How will they get out?," asked the strawberry goat boy.  Gee, I don't know!  Maybe we should call the fire department.

The summer heat is wearing, but the shortage of students with sparkle in their eyes is more exhausting.  Fortunately the kids observed three anole lizards out the window Friday afternoon.  They were curious.  I made some paper anoles.  

That made me wonder how paper anoles would get out.

Not exactly Escher, but a fun diversion!

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Hornworm dominoes and horse hoof care

We haven't found any hornworms on the tomato plants for two days now.  It is too hot to stay outside very long, so we have to find new amusements. 

The preschoolers are learning to play picture dominoes around a big table. I made the set of photo dominoes a few years back, but the kids just rediscovered them.

Around the table sit a ruffle of four year old girls, the strawberry/goat boy, the Chinese three year old, and two  large, sweaty eight year old boys banished by the elementary teacher.  The domino cards are big and the children are small.  Matching a card at the end of the domino "snake" can involve an aerobic journey around the table.

Our small Chinese student is sharp matching images.  She's learning English very quickly.  She can say, "I don't think so!," when asked to do something. And she knows the essential little girl phrase, "I'm a princess."

The essential word for today is farrier.  It popped up while I was filing Dad's yellow fingernails:

farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horses' hooves and the placing of shoes on their hooves. A farrier combines some blacksmith's skills (fabricating, adapting, and adjusting metal shoes) with some veterinarian's skills (knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the lower limb) to care for horses' feet.--Wikipedia

Dad was very excited when I arrived this evening, as he had decided I was the one to take him "home".  Supper first, Dad.  Ravioli and canned peaches.  If I speared bites on the fork, Dad was game to pilot the fork to his mouth.

What's next, Dad wondered.  Should he pack?  He had flipped his sheet and blanket onto the floor and is wearing just a shirt and a diaper.  The tiny Chinese girl wears the same outfit at naptime.

I distract Dad by getting a hot washcloth to clean his hands after the ravioli.  I offer to put Vick's on his fungus-afflicted fingernails, but he asks me to clip them.  Aarrgh!  He screamed the last time I tried.  I don't have the proper hoof-nippers for the job.  True, Dad looks like an Asian Dragon Empress with his long nails, and they are full of gunk.  For what we are paying for skilled care, Madge should be soaking his fingers in Joy.  Wish I'd brought my Sears Craftsman power sander.

Huh?  This photo is borrowed from a farrier website. I need those leg protectors, hoof-nippers, and giant rasps.  I promise Dad I would work more tomorrow on his nails.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Otter move on

Or CollageMama comes perilously close to becoming a howler monkey.

O best beloved, it began with sixteen realistic miniature plastic animals of the sort you might buy to pacify an overheated, exhausted child in the gift shop that is always the only way out of the zoo.  And here I just thank my lucky stars I got to raise my little sons in a city with an excellent zoo, Omaha's Henry Doorly, and that my dear parents gave us a family zoo membership for Christmas every year back then.

The sixteen animals were not being clutched in sweaty hands while small boys in safety carseats fell asleep for the drive home with their little heads smashed down on a mess of Cheerios.  The animals were in a basket in the classroom, along with neat labels.  They were in good shape except for the owl.  Norton, the class rabbit, nibbled the horns off the great horned owl years ago.

Ordeal--My father cannot retrieve nouns because his brain is deteriorating.  I am very concerned about an almost five year old student who cannot retain/retrieve the names of things. If I ask him which animal is the chimpanzee, he can point to it.  A minute later he cannot name the animal when I point to it.

It is a nice menagerie there in the basket; bison, black bear, camel, cheetah, chimpanzee, fox, giraffe, kangaroo, llama, ostrich, owl, panda, penguin, polar bear, rhinoceros, and spider monkey.  We slog on through the a.m. trying to say the beginning sounds on the labels.

P-p-p-p  I've already spent months with this child trying to call a pear a pear, and not pineapple or pine cone.  It doesn't matter how many times we go look at the big alphabet poster and the P-p-p parrot picture.  It is still just a "P-p-p green bird" to him.

Last month we worked on farm animals.  He usually called the goat a "strawberry".


I feel the pain of President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and others trying to patiently, calmly, positively, emphatically convince a small group who can't tell a goat from a strawberry to do the sensible thing.

As the morning dragged on, we got down to the five finalists in the animal identification effort. Only the camel would be correctly identified. The rest would be identified as follows:



Green olive, I am not kidding.

Pitted, definitely pitted green olives.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Chewandswallow and billow, too

Envious of my inept, yet refreshed preschoolers. I am teaching them to fill watering cans from the big yellow bucket without getting completely soaked.  This is way more complicated than we remember.  You have to turn the bucket on its side and hold it under the water, then watch the bubbles. When the bubbles stop, the can is full.  Do not, I repeat, do not try to water your tongue.  

Walk, don't run. Use at least two hands to carry your watering can toward the garden.   Don't forget to check for the toad that frequents the subterranean space by the faucet.  Please don't intentionally water your own shoes or anybody else's.  Try to point the watering can spout toward the dirt near an actual plant!  Don't worry, your clothes will dry very soon in this heat.  Look.  Orville Redenbacher popcorn clouds are billowing in the glaring blue sky.

Billowing   A great swell, surge, or undulating mass, as of smoke or sound.[From Old Norse bylgja, a wave; see bhelgh ]

So next time I say bhelgh, I will try visualize billowing sails filling with wind, purpose, and imagination on sailing ships of long ago. We need to get out of the doldrums.

Sitting in the traffic jam caused by a signal light outage at Coit Road and The George Bush, I listened to a story on NPR about protecting my internet transactions from hacking.  Yes, it is possible to enable a secure sockets layer or SSL on Facebook.  No, some drivers could not keep their vehicles from overheating in the 106 degree heat index as we limped along at three mph.  What a weird place to be stalled and sweltering at an impasse!  Our 190 tollroad is named for Bush The First, but I still blame Dubya for the economy.  That Obama has been unable to steer the plane out of the dive he inherited is unfortunate, as is his inability to extricate us from wars where our soldiers are always over 106 degrees.  I am sick, sick, sick of politicians seeking reelection and of the complete lack of inspired leaders, statesmen, concensus-builders.  

It is so hot here the windshield sponge-O-squeegee at the gas station dried out before I could clean the front window of the Buick.  It's so hot here that I'm instantly coated with sticky, itchy cedar mulch while lifting handfuls out of the bag to pack around the bean, pepper, and tomato plants. During the mulch operation we realize we've got camouflaged  hornworms on our tomato plants. Hornworms are big, disgusting and reliable.  We can count on them to provide class lessons.  Hornworms chew and swallow and leave a trail of frass.

Chewandswallow is the land in the book, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  Dad is not in that land.  He still chews ... and chews ... and chews ... but he's forgotten how to swallow.  And it does not rain maple syrup.  It does not rain at all.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Preschool as a second language

For two weeks I've been teaching essential English to a three year-old Chinese speaker.  I'm speaking "like a broken record", an idiom none of my students will ever understand:

to say the same thing over and over again. (Fig. on a scratch in a phonograph record causing the needle [or stylus] to stay in the same groove and play it over and over.)

All my other speech is taking on this repetitive quality with consistent short phrases and inflections.  Some of the phrases might seem naughty if taken out of context.  That was a problem when my eldest son, Mr. Speech-Debate was still sitting in his highchair. We subscribed to a Johnson and Johnson infant toy program in the early Eighties, and received a developmentally appropriate toy of the month.  The toys were well-made and visually appealing.  One toy was notoriously named the "stand-up man".  It was a suction toy for the high chair tray, useful at restaurants if you didn't mind being stared at by other diners who acted like we were filming a porn video.  We would ask tiny Jeffy, "Say, can you make this man stand up?"  Jeffy was good at responding to that verbal cue, and could always pull the string to make this man stand up.  Each time I tell my Chinese student, "pants all the way off," I use the same wording and inflection.  Thank heaven I'm not saying it at the Pizza Hut on Ames Avenue in Omaha.

We shepherded the new students through their very first fire drill, learned to get nap mats and blankies out of our cubbies and arrange them in the Nap Room.  I'm glad most of the kiddies don't need to wear pull-up diapers at naptime.

A somewhat accurate log of our ESOL progress follows.
  • Go pee pee
  • All finished
  • NO!
  • Green
  • Flush
  • Soap
  • Shoes 
  • Here (roll call)
  • Hat
  • Lunchbox
  • Push in your chair
  • Hands in your lap
  • Please check my work
  • Pants all the way off
  • Diaper on 
  • Stool
  • Sink
  • Placemat
  • Banana
  • My name
  • Sit on the line
  • Get your box
  • Put out your nap things
  • Blanket
  • Doggie
  • Fold your red mat
  • Walk to me
  • Bring it to me
  • Line up
  • Hold hands
  • Put it in your cubby
  • Use both hands
  • Raise your hand
  • Watering can
  • Which is the biggest one?
  • Ring the bell

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder

Are you comfortable?

Hi, Dad.  Are you comfortable sitting that way?  It's almost supper time.

Just before he tried to eat his cherry pie with the wrong end of the spoon, Dad whispered, "Where are we?"

We are at the nursing home in Plano, Texas.  
Dad pointed his quivering fingers at the art poster I tacked on his wall last weekend.  "Where?"

Going down the Missouri, Dad.  Fur traders.  See the bundle of furs.  I don't know why they have a cat, Dad.  I always wonder about that.*

"Comfortable," Dad whispered.


"I am comfortable," he said.

After a long period of silence, Dad mouthed inaudible words again.  I moved from the armchair to perch next to his skinny leg on the edge of his bed, the better to read his lips.  Again please. Slowly Dad whispered, "Are ...  you ... comfortable?"  The question hung above us in a heavy speech bubble.

I could not answer immediately.  Too many possibilities.  Falling back on my lifelong coping skill I laughed and said I wasn't comfortable or secure, that I would probably fall off the edge of the bed onto the floor if Dad sneezed or wiggled.

Instead of falling off, I fed Dad the cherry pie, then chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.  He reached for the milk carton himself.  He did not slap my hand holding the fork away.  Instead, he ran his long, yellow fingernails against my wrist, seeming to signal a willingness to be fed another bite.  So sad, so sad.  My arm could feel his touch, but could his fingers sense a connection?

Top four meanings for Dad's question:

  • Simple mimickry--just a slow reverb echo of my question with no meaning attached.
  • Are we getting settled in our delusional home, the one where Dad is the foster child in the parsonage?
  • Am I accepting his inevitable death?  Can Dad still think about philosophy and emotions when he can't use dining utensils?
  • Am I in decent shape financially?  Dad would have asked that question five years ago, but probably not today.

Dad and I have shared a lifetime of quiet togetherness, questions, and waiting.  We are the lag between the lightning and the thunder counting, sitting on the front stoop, eating ice cream from tall glasses.

We are maps, family trees, and imaginary blueprints refined on long walks after big dinners in small towns.

We are the expectation of good sportsmanship hovering over the group of kids playing Crazy Eights at his feet.

We are the slow watching and turning of the marshmallows on the skewer over the gray-orange coals, and the careful emptying of the grass-catcher on the Montgomery Ward lawnmower.

We are linked by bridges between Matisse, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Eames, and Alexander Calder.

We are the red and white bobber on the surface of the fishing pond.  We are figuring square roots on long hot road trips.

Are we comfortable?

*Art sources insist the cat in George Caleb Bingham's painting is a young bear cub.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Ant lions and Dorothy shoes

Every travail can be eased by a hummingbird at my patio feeder.

Nature's flash is so exceedingly wonderful compared to those darn pink and red Oz shoes that shed glitter creating a trail of every step of a day at preschool.  The clues are now embedded in the carpet, defying the vacuum cleaner.  The clues, alas, do not pertain to the current mystery. Dorothy and Toto are skipping up the wrong brick road.

Walking backwards, not a bit cowardly, are the ant lions aka antlions brought for Show And Tell in a mayo jar half full of sand.   With the sand carefully spread in a tray, a proud boy displayed his skill at finding the antlions.  We were all in awe at how fast these insects could back themselves under the sand again.  I'd forgotten the childhood lore about these "doodlebugs" that make conical pits to trap ants.

Maybe Dad's tax stuff had fallen into a conical pit.  The accountant mailed it First Class Priority at her post office, about two zip codes away on July fourteenth. Then flying monkeys got it.

The accountant and I have been a WEE tad stressed about the missing envelope full of social security numbers and investment data.  For two days I've left notes in my mailbox for the carrier suggesting that the large envelope might have been placed in one of the large parcel lock-boxes and the key not left for me.  Phoning the post office for my zip code was futile.  No one ever answered.  There's no one behind the curtain.

This evening it occurred to me to look inside the antique milk delivery box on my doorstep.  The milk box from Roberts Dairy has been sitting there in the hot sun for years with a gigantic purple rubber tarantula on top, and a winter faucet cover inside.  There was the 10 x 13 inch white and green envelope with postal labels.  Had the letter carrier put it there last week?  Had I been lacking imagination to look in that place instead of, say, my mailbox?

Nope.  My neighbor had gone to his mailbox for the first time since his eighty-eighth birthday last week.  He found a key for a parcel box, and thought he received another birthday present.  But instead he found my dad's tax package.  He placed it in my "tin bucket" milkbox, then phoned me last evening to make sure I got it.  Then he told me about his plane having too short range to reach Japan from Iwo Jima or Lusan and a few other war in the Pacific stories I didn't retain in my euphoria.  Wild Bill is my hero today!  He's got a brain, a heart, and courage.

Oh, the Roberts Dairy milkbox replaced our Skyline Dairy milkbox.  We were very sad when Roberts bought out Skyline in the Sixties.  Roberts never could make Swiss Almond ice cream taste right!  Never mind about the rubber tarantula.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


If one of those updates should happen to fall

There'll be 98 bottles of beer on the wall.  Take one down and pass it around, McAfee updates follow Microsoft install.

It's a summer bus ride to fun time camp!  I finally got a new router after the old D-Link fried in a lightning storm.  The netbook computer Dad unknowingly purchased for me to manage his financial affairs can now return to service after six months idleness.  But first there will be a tortuous period of long-delayed automatic updates, much like being stuck on a bus to Camp Kiwanis with the singing Camp Fire Girls, to be followed by a long afternoon of kids playing Marco-Polo at the neighborhood swim pool.

installing update 21 of 53

Happy birthday wishes to Julie B and Janice.

Now we're installing Internet Explorer 9, we take 8 down and pass it around.  Getting late.  I may be on the high school church choir trip with those tenors smoking cherry cigars.

A car and a bus set out at 2 p.m. from the same point, headed in the same direction. The average speed of the car is 30 mph slower than twice the speed of the bus. In two hours, the car is 20 miles ahead of the bus and your updates are still downloading.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


From your first cigarette to your last dying day

In my formative Social Studies years I aspired to ace the Current Events quiz every week.  Back then we heard reports of Mao's Cultural Revolution and of his wife's Gang of Four.  They were causing  horrible suffering for the Chinese people far beyond the ability of our junior high minds to grasp.  Still, it hit me as strange to hear President Obama refer to a Senate "Gang of Six" working on the budget/debt ceiling crisis.

Sure, I enjoy reading about the outlaw gangs, those Jameses, Youngers, and Daltons.  They weren't nice boys, and they weren't Robin Hoods.  I wouldn't want them in charge in Washington.

Gang is a troubling word.  I'm too young to remember the Little Rascals of Our Gang beyond a vague image of Alfalfa and the phrase "Teacher, Miss Pretty".

"West Side Story" is my favorite movie  I've never seen.  I played the soundtrack LP over and over on my parents' mono record player while pouring over the album cover and liner notes, imagining all the scenes.  Do I want the Jets and Sharks negotiating tax deductions and loopholes?  No, but I will snap my fingers until the Senators deal!  Those guys sure need a choreographer!

Disney's "Robin Hood" is a movie I've seen way too many times.  I can only wish the Senate Gang of Six included a bear voiced by Phil Harris and a very cute fox dressed in green:

  • Little John: You know somethin', Robin. I was just wonderin', are we good guys or bad guys? You know, I mean, uh? Our robbin' the rich to feed the poor. 
  • Robin Hood: Rob? Tsk tsk tsk. That's a naughty word. We never rob. We just sort of borrow a bit from those who can afford it.
  •  Little John: Borrow? Boy, are we in debt.

What else could Obama call the "Gang of Six, or maybe Seven"?  Long ago I had a large number of high school studentes who came to the condo every Friday for a noon meal.  I called them the "Lunch Bunch".  We need a better collective noun for leading compromising bipartisan statesmen, and we need it fast.  Merry Men?  Let's make every elected representative in Congress wear tights until they work out a deal.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


gress happens

Commenting on a hedgehog blog, I was forced to type a security word:


Gress seems to come from gradi to go, not to be confused with
Frass--that stuff when caterpillars go poop,
or Gross--when a student pees all over the restroom floor.

Digress means to go astray, which is actually what this small student does whenever she uses the restroom.  Often she needs dry clothes to regress to a previous state.

Dad is gressing to a different state.  I arrived about six p.m. to find he had pushed his supper tray away and onto himself, his bed, and the floor. Again.  He was wearing tomato soup and milk way down between his widdle toes.  This particular grinch was not amused to deal with this gradoo.  [See Urban Dictionary  ] Sadly, Dad was able to say he does not have the energy to eat.

Pate de foie gras is a paste made from goose liver, usually with truffles.  I do not smash goose liver, with or without truffles.  I smash rodents and other vermin with a  2" x 10" board in a long night of exhausting dreams. Wake up with very sore arms and shoulders after being a slumber lumber liquidator!  Maybe the dream is telling me I need a mattress with better lumbar support ... or a new blender.

It is Sunday.  Time to get engrossed in a good book, Feathers:  The Evolution of a Natural Miracle, by Thor Hansen.  Time for brunch with a friend, and making fresh nectar for the hummingbird feeder.  I'll watch the US women vs. Japan while Dad naps, and work on my saves when he pushes his dinner tray. Time to smile about the Woolly Mammoth's new job and plans to come visit his old mom.  And time, of course, to pay bills.  It won't be pate, but I'm going to make a cream cheese spread with garlic, walnuts, dill, and black olives.

My old red dictionary has gressorial adj. Zoology.  Adapted for walking or having legs adapted for walking. [New Latin gressorius, from gressor, one that walks, from Latin gradi (past participle gressus), to step, go.  See ghredh-


© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Full moon

With the heat index still at ninety-six degrees at ten p.m., it is a lovely evening to look out the window at the full moon and listen to the automatic sprinkler system spraying the big canna leaves.

You may not hear about it on NPR, but Old McDonald is in crisis.  This is not a drought problem, or about federal farm subsidies.  This is about preschoolers who don't know that cows say MOO.  How are we going to EIEIO?  The preschoolers are here a cluck, there a duck, everybody run amok.  It happens every year, so I shouldn't be surprised that city kids no longer have any experience with farms.  Drives between Omaha and Lincoln, NE, were such a regular feature of my sons' preschool years they knew the names of all the farm implements by age five.   Old McDonald had to sing about those implements in the car as well as all his animals.
Mostly ClearPartly CloudyMostly SunnyMostly SunnyPartly CloudySunnySunnySunnySunnyMostly Sunny
Mostly ClearPartly CloudyMostly SunnyMostly SunnyPartly CloudySunnySunnySunnySunnyMostly Sunny
If I'm going a bit mad, it could be the full moon.  More likely it is the unrelenting heat.  The ten-day outlook is more of the same.  I stood outside to listen to the automatic sprinkler hitting the big canna leaves and enjoy a bit of mist.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


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